Sunday, 19 February 2017

Professor Stephen Westaby and the Honours System


Yes I like old things, fortunately so does the wife! This is a painting of a local vintage show. It was done a few years ago and is sold. I had been intending to post my latest commission but I need decent light to photograph it.

This morning I listened to an interview of Professor Stephen Westaby. He is a heart surgeon. Now I confess it is an area that I have no interest in or much previous knowledge. Before I go further I will state my views on the current honours system. It is moribund. I believe that an Honours System should be non political and given only to people who have made an outstanding contribution to society and mankind. Not celebrities, cronies or civil servants. Here is one such genuine candidate for my Honours List.

Professor Westaby has undertaken over 11,000 heart operations. When he started in the 1970's only two in three patients undergoing heart surgery would survive. With medical advances this is now 98 patients in a hundred who are likely to survive. Professor Westably gave a breakdown of his average day:

Up at 5am to do his ward rounds.
Then in the Operating Theatre for heart operations
After surgery into the laboratory to work on the production of a new artificial heart

He was the first surgeon to fit a small impeller driven pump in  heart replacement surgery in a terminally ill man. This patient lived another 7 years before tragically dying of another cause. The cost of this heart made I believe in USA precludes the NHS from using it. Professor Westaby is now working with a team at Swansea University to produce an "affordable" artificial heart for use in the NHS.

This is just a summary but you get the picture. This is the type of person that should be honoured and people who dedicate their lives to raising money for charity or community service. Not personalities who use their wealth to try and buy recognition with photo opportunities using charity as a means to an end.  Maybe the odd exceptional sportsman (or woman). Richard Parkes comes to mind. Oh and certainly no artists!!

Sorry all a bit deep there today.

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